Accomplished music teacher bolsters The Collegiate’s performing arts program
Having earned praise for achieving great results at the helm of a school music program in Manitoba’s Interlake, Renise Mlodzinski is excited for her next challenge: to help build The Collegiate’s music program from the ground up. This fall marks the launch of the new suite of performing arts programs at The University of Winnipeg’s high school on campus. Mlodzinski says getting involved was a chance she couldn’t pass up.
“They’re looking to build music programs,” she says, when asked what attracted her to teach at The Collegiate. “Nowadays people are often looking to cut music, and here we have an opportunity to build, so count me in.”
Mlodzinski will be based in the new 4,800 square foot home base for music education on-campus, the historic Bryce Hall, which has just undergone extensive renovations to include a suite of ten acoustically treated studios, a large classroom and office space. She shares the facility with the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts, which moved in this summer as part of a new relationship with UWinnipeg and The Collegiate. Mlodzinski is pleased the unique partnership will increase connections between students and the performance world, to which she is no stranger as an orchestral trumpet player and vocalist who can also tickle the ivories.
Mlodzinski will be teaching choral and instrumental courses at The Collegiate, as well as music appreciation and musical ensemble classes open to University of Winnipeg students. She says her primary goal in teaching music is creating a sense of community, and accountability, so students at different levels learn from each other. “When you’re building up the strengths of one another, you’re obviously building skills, teamwork skills, leadership skills, and an awareness of the uniqueness of those around you. In addition to all the other beautiful things that music teaches: cooperation.”
While it may be passion for music that attracts students to her classes, she says the skills they learn will carry them much further than the stage. “These are skills they need, whether or not they go on and continue in music or not…. they need the skills that music teaches in the workforce: Accountability, that commitment to one another, working toward the common goal, and collaborating with others.”
Mlodzinski says she’ll use that same collaborative approach to design her programs, by drawing on the musical knowledge students themselves bring to the table. “It’s not cookie cutter music programs, it has to be different based on the culture the kids are surrounded with.”